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Logo 0002 68.png What Makes A Pathway?
Owner: Pathways Working Group Updated: 2014-05-13
Pathways at Mozilla

What Makes a Pathway at Mozilla?

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What is a pathway?

A pathway is defined as a way of getting involved at any level, from beginning contribution to superstar contributor. A pathway is a healthy way for people to get involved and stay involved cross-functionally and at all levels. The pathways working group is committed to defined and innovative pathways to support our inter-organizational goal of 10x Mozillians by the end of this year and 1,000,000 Mozillians at the end of ten years.

Pathways invite and delight, and pathways can be broken down into 3 types:

  • Functional area pathways
  • Regional pathways
  • Product specific "lenses"

This page tracks the successful pathways at Mozilla. This is a draft, and please add as necessary.

Healthy Pathways Have

Automated Response/Tracking

  • Automated responding, systems for initial reponse to incoming potential community members

Dedicated filtering of incoming folks

  • Team of people who respond, triage, and help people get started

Support Structure

  • Assigned supports for new contributors
  • Can be simple or complex, in order from least to most complex

BootCamp

Curriculum of initial things people need to understand and do

Mentoring

Mentored bugs

Below are some examples of successful mentoring across the organization

Documentation

Tutorials

  • Embedded, like new SUMO Knowledge Base tutorial
  • Video, like Code Firefox
  • Webby, like Josh's training missions
  • Webmaker makes can be used well here

Conversion Points

Track number of things done, over an amount of time, and whether the work is getting used to move the Mozilla project forward

  • Ready To Contribute (Qualifying)
  • Casual Contribution (1-6? contributions)
  • Milestones between badges
  • Active Contribution (GOAL!)
    • Examples of active contribution: 30 hours logged, two L10N firefox contribution credits over two releases, xx number of support responses, etc
  • Work broken down into:
    • Minimum viable first contribution followed by increasing size/complexity of contributions and increasing responsibility in the project.
    • This maps to conversion points and recognition.

Recognition

  • Work out ways your pathway can recognize
  • Recognize consistently in a structured way
  • pay attention to how people like to be recognized
  • Badge at conversion points and beyond

Steps to building a healthy pathway

A. Getting Started

  1. Begin with the end in mind
    • What are your project's goals?
    • How will scaling volunteers support these goals
    • Turn that into deliverables
    • Turn deliverables into tasks
    • Plan iteratively (utilize agile)
    • Check in with community and stakeholders frequently and on a schedule
  2. Identify minimum viable contribution
    • document the steps a contributor must take to make this minimum viable contribution
      • what are the prerequisite skills?
      • what are the prerequisite tasks?
      • what are the required materials?
    • in that documentation, identify and address any roadblocks (e.g. requires access to staff-only resources or require a high-level of undocumented knowledge)
  3. Define clear conversion points:
    • Ready to contribute: contributor has prerequisite skills and completed prerequisite tasks
    • First contribution: contributor has submitted first contribution successfully
    • Active contributor: contributor is making regular and/or high-impact contributions
    • Privileged contributor: contributor, through regular, on-going activity, has earned sufficient trust and can now contribute via privileged activities (e.g. approving pull requests)

B. Project Communication and Documentation

  1. Identify communication channels:
    • irc
    • mailinglist
    • vidyo
    • skype
    • regular meeting times
    • project leads, mentors
    • bug tracker details
    • project files (e.g. source code)
  2. Task tracking and communication. Identify and document the following:
    • Where are tasks tracked?
    • Can contributors access this?
    • How do contributors pick up tasks from this system and submit their work?
  3. Categorize tasks. Identify those tasks that differ from the minimum viable contribution in terms of required skills, knowledge and/or access.
    • For each grouping of these tasks, identify and document:
      • what is the prerequisite Mozilla project experience?
      • what are the prerequisite skills?
      • what are the prerequisite tasks?
      • what are the required materials?
    • in that documentation, identify and address any roadblocks (e.g. requires access to staff-only resources or require a high-level of undocumented knowledge)

C. Supporting & Scaling

  1. Implement a mentor or buddy support program
  2. Localized resources (???)
  3. Document everything
  4. Create a recognition program (best practices for badges are coming soon)
    • Utilizing the recognition guide from the recognition working group including but not limited to
      • Building levels of recognition
      • Increasing levels of privilege and responsibility over time
      • Increasing access to resources and events

Mozilla unified badge system

1. Get Ready: badge folks for going through the Webmaker curriculum, setting themselves up with whatever account access they need (like Bugzilla)

2. Minimum viable contribution: a very small first step they can take, specific things, one task.

3. Casual contributor: this seems to mean two small contributions or one larger one - a few hours spent

4. Active contributor - this of course is also people who would count toward our organizational goal - substantive contribution, maybe when they host a successful event or finish a small set of bugs/makes?

5. Super star - some series of further badges for outstanding contributors :)

Types of pathways:

  • Functional area pathways
  • Regional pathways
  • Product specific "lenses"

Examples of Best Practices/Pathway Success Stories

Functional

SUMO

Questions and answers for SUMO:

  • How do you recruit new contributors? Where do they come from?
  • How do you support new volunteers as they onboard?
    • Mentorship through the Buddy program
    • Documentation
  • What technical tools do you use?
  • What documentation do you use, if any (share urls)
  • How do you break down tasks and know what a good "entry level" task is for a volunteer?
  • What person to person tools do you use to support volunteers?
  • What are the most common questions you get from volunteers?
  • How much "work" do you see from new volunteers and "how soon"?
  • How do you track work from volunteers?
    • Some projects use no tools
    • Some volunteers don't want to feel tracked as this is their volunteer time
    • Mentors or stewards can document progress
  • How do cross cultural communication differences come into play here?
  • What are your conversion points?
  • How do you recognize people's work and accomplishments?
    • Recognition guide
    • Badges
    • Community calls every week
    • Well defined functional areas
    • Localized resources
    • IRC meetings
    • Multiple entry levels although the main focus is on one (Army of Awesome)
    • Social media presence
    • Mentorship programs
    • Dedicated staff for community building
    • Onboarding process and documentation (Get Involved page:https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/get-involved)

Mozilla Reps (aka ReMo)

  • How do you recruit new contributors? where do they come from?
    • Anyone can apply to join the program. We usually get about a dozen applications every week. Most applicants are university students from South Asia. To apply, you need to fill out a form and then, if you pass the first screening, you are connected with a mentor who will guide you through the next steps of the process
  • How do you support new volunteers as they onboard?
    • Fresh applicants go through a hand-holding period with their mentor (see next question)
  • Do you have a mentoring or buddy program? documentation?
  • What technical tools do you use?
    • Reps Mentors have a dashboard that they use on the Mozilla Reps portal
  • How do you break down tasks and know what a good "entry level" task is for a volunteer?
  • What person to person tools do you use to support volunteers?
  • What are the most common questions you get from volunteers?
  • How much "work" do you see from new volunteers and "how soon"?
  • What are your conversion points?
  • How do you recognize people's work and accomplishments?
    • Recognition guide
    • Badges

WebMaker

    • Dedicated staff for community building
    • Community calls every week (maybe they dont need to be every week)
    • People are always on IRC
    • Social media presence
    • Localized resources
    • Get involved page entry, automated email responder, back end process (need details from michelle on this)
    • Entry level is not hard -- attending a webmaker event seems to be the common entry point
    • Process for supporting new people (need details on webmaker mentor program)
    • Well documented wiki https://wiki.mozilla.org/Webmaker/Teach
    • How to get started
    • How to share
    • Best practices repository
    • Clear alignment with MoFo goals
    • WebMaker itself is a tool for community builders to share how they work (like Regnard's piece on how to work with volunteers: http://popcorn.webmadecontent.org/uxr)

QA

Talk to Marcia

L10N

Talk to Jeff

Best Practices

  • Issues and Challenges:
    • Onboarding
    • Measurement
    • Sustainability

Firefox Mentored Bugs

Talk to Josh Matthews

MDN

Talk to Janet Swisher

What do we need to know from successful pathway builders?

  • How do you recruit new contributors? where do they come from?
  • How do you support new volunteers as they onboard?
  • What technical tools do you use?
  • What documentation do you use, if any (share urls)
  • How do you break down tasks and know what a good "entry level" task is for a volunteer?
  • What person to person tools do you use to support volunteers
  • What are the most common questions you get from volunteers?
  • How much "work" do you see from new volunteers and "how soon"
  • What are your conversion points?
  • How do you recognize people's work and accomplishments?
    • Recognition guide
    • Badges
      • Regional
      • Product
    • Email to all Mozillians with an interest in mentoring
    • Sub wiki page
    • Problem Statement
    • Straw Proposal
    • Point people at a path where they can comment easily and give feedback
    • Place where we can collect mentors that's like a spreadsheet or something

Questions to ask each pathway builder

Links to documentation are great

  • How do you recruit new contributors? where do they come from?
  • How do you support new volunteers as they onboard?
  • Do you have a mentoring or buddy program? documentation?
  • What technical tools do you use?
  • How do you break down tasks and know what a good "entry level" task is for a volunteer?
  • What person to person tools do you use to support volunteers?
  • What are the most common questions you get from volunteers?
  • How much "work" do you see from new volunteers and "how soon"
  • What are your conversion points
  • How do you recognize people's work and accomplishments
  • Recognition guide
  • Badges

Anything else to add?